He Is Gone

She rang me from her home
at the far end of the country.

“He is not here,” she said.

“Is he in the hospice ?” I asked.

“They take me to see him
at the hospice every day.”

She said no  more
did not answer me
hung up.

I wrote to her instead.


She rang me from her home
at the far end of the country.

“He is …. he is …. ” she said.

“I am so sorry  he is gone,”
I replied.

I persuaded her to tell me
who stayed with her
who cared for her.

The small private funeral
he requested spared her
much distress.

They are helping her
supporting her at home.

But he is gone.

He Is Gone

A Tortuous Road

Bold confident intelligent
a successful professional
she also lived in her music
evenings and weekends
singing and playing piano.

Midlife at age forty two an
alien octopus cluster vein
burst in her brain flooding
it with blood until eleven
hours on the operating table
finally stemmed the flow.

Survival left her limping
struggling to recall the words
of her once fluent speech,
unable to sing, play the piano,
keep her professional career.

A half life on a government benefit.

The man who had loved her
through the ending of his
marriage at last convinced
her parents to help him
marry her, twenty years’ joy.

He stayed alive for her till
ninety, then faded away.

At seventy she was bereft,
abandoned amidst family
friends, loved church parish.

A Tortuous Road

Five Feisty Tuis

Five feisty tuis
iridescent cousins of
ferocious blackbirds;
territorial warriors guarding
prolific nectar laden trees
golden kowhai blooms
scarlet eucalyptus spikes.

Five feisty tuis
elegant parson birds
knots of white feathers
curling at their throats
arrive at the untenanted
kowhai tree No trilling
bell like courting songs now.

Five feisty tuis
streak into the kowhai’s
heart claiming every luscious
nectar laden flower for
their own. Loud raucous
shrieks fill the air.
Speeding beating wings
dart through heavily
laden branches vicious
beaks cruelly stabbing.

One by one the victor
forces them to flee.

Triumphantly he struts
poses on a high branch,
trilling, wooing his beautiful
female to set up a nest.

Five Feisty Tuis

Shaky Isles

Our shaky isles are
on earth’s heaving
molten fiery core,
cold hard rock jutting
above earth’s vast oceans.

Our shaky isles are
as we eat dinner
watch TV read papers
send evening emails
from home computers.

Our shaky isles are
their rocky crusty shards
as they split over surging
boiling magma welling up
receding, grinding between
vast sliding rocky plates.

Shaky Isles

Clockswoggled !

In our southern hemisphere’s
cool dark seasons I read
during the evenings varied
WordPress blogs of differing
topics styles presentations.

At 11pm I closed down
to go to bed for the night.

When our southern clocks went
forward an hour in spring all
was jiggled around so I caught
my breath, adjusted, continued
to bed at 11 pm but had to read
some favourite blogs next day.

I settled into reading these blogs
at new times until a vast north
continent moved its clocks
for winter then my favourite
blogs’ times changed again !

As my feet touched ground
again the other northern
continent jolted its clocks
tipped up its times, so now
I read my blogs all posting
at strange new times again.

I still close down at 11 pm
to go to bed for the night.

Clockswoggled !

Dressing For Town

An exciting morning – shopping
in town spending pocket money
in between Mum’s errands.

Svelte chic for the eight year
old with close fitting jeans
geometric zigzagged cardigan
buttoned to the neck, hair
neatly tied back, irridescent
pink flats with tiny bows.

Femininity for the six year old
pink shirt starred leggings
under smart denim skirt complete
with heart covered sneakers.
Last of all a necklace teaming
with sparkly dangly hair ties.

Mum quickly dons smart jeans
shirt, flats, applies makeup
combs hair, puts on ear ring.

Little brother wears striped
leggings, cowboy sweatshirt,
cute little sneakers, his first ever.

His special comb goes over
his tight curly thatch . Oh no !
Loud screams ! How could she !
She’s combing his hair !

Three smartly dressed ladies
drive off to town with tidy
tear stained little brother
buckled firmly in his seat.

Dressing For Town


Grizzling sounds came from
little brother’s bedroom as
Mum and Aunty met in the hall
but Mum said he could wait
a few minutes while they finished
in the kitchen and bedrooms.

The eight year old stared as
they went their different
directions while little brother
still grizzled and whined.

Five minutes later Mum and
Aunty were joined in the
kitchen by the small slight
eight year old lugging sturdy
little brother, both beaming.

They are very close friends.
She had lowered the side of
his cot, he leaned over it, she
helped him roll over its, slide
down to the floor, where
she unzipped his sleep sack.

He stood up, she hugged
him from behind and
staggered with him
into the kitchen –
partners in the endeavour.


The Gate

As he played in the living room
the back door clicked, rattled.
Running out through the dining
room little brother stopped short.
A closed gate into the kitchen
barred his way to greet them.

Oooooh !  He sees Mum coming
through the back porch into
the kitchen followed by dad
both laden with shopping.
Nana behind him says the gate
stays shut while they unload.

The black and white cat strolls
up to the gate, leaps agilely
on to its post, drops lightly
down to the kitchen floor.

Little brother stares wistfully
enviously at his swift lithe
movement, wishing he too
could leap so easily.

He already runs fast in his
unsteady new gait, but with
no thought of distance or safety.

The gate will stay for a while.

The Gate

A Brother Buried

Cousin George always bullied
younger brother ,cousin Alfred
yet remained their autocratic
father’s favourite son.

Young George worked for
our government in Samoa
before WW II, a promising
young professional fellow.

Years later after Alfred’s sudden
death his descendants explored
their family history. George
was not found in the foreign
service or public records.

Alfred said George died in
1940 but at last they found
his death notice for 1947.

Now they seek his
place of burial
of residence and work,
means of support.
Had he a wife ?
children ?

For Alfred only told an
erroneous date of death.
He truly buried his brother.

A Brother Buried

Medal For Bravery

Great uncle Richard’s military
record in bright photocopy with
colourful signatures, official
stamps from the Defence Ministry
reached our cousins.

Born in 1890 he joined our
expeditionary force to take
Samoa from Germany in 1914.
He fought 1915 – 1918 in Europe
surviving the trenches with a
military cross for bravery
at Passchendaele in 1917.

After 22 years as a civilian
here he returned to England to
train his young countrymen to
fight in Europe and Africa.

My own generation read this
in great surprise in 2014.
He was divorced in 1937
in his far city home, left
no descendants to keep
his memories alive.

His family in his home city
rejected him for his divorce.,
never mentioned his war
service or military cross.

Medal For Bravery